Haibun writing - I’ve come to realise that the core of my writing is akin to the prose poem form of Haibun. Written in the nature tradition. [...] A pair of Bullfinch light up a solitary Ash tree - soft glow light bulbs of carmine red and cinnamon pink. They call softly to each other. Their rumps as white as the snow. [...]
The haibun is the combination of two poems: a prose poem and haiku. The prose poem usually describes a scene or moment, in autobiographical prose. It is characterised by dependence on imagery and detailed narrative of experience; whereas haiku is one such moment, using just a few words to capture a moment and create a picture in the reader's mind. It is like a tiny window into a scene much larger than itself.
Here are some passages from my blog, written over the last couple of years or so, reworked here as a collection of haibun.
Seasons in My Mind
The Imminence of Spring
A pale cerulean-blue sky – crisscrossed with misty white vapour trails of planes - a modern art canvas; paint casually, thrown from the artists brush; white clouds tinged salmon-pink hanging over blue-grey mountains; just before sunrise – white wreaths of mist lingering over the fields and valley wood mirroring the trails above. Low and plaintive 'peeawee' 'peeawee', a Lapwing calls from the open fields; a Chiffchaff sings ‘chiff-chaff, chiff-chaff, chiff‘ at the edge of the wood, the double notes hanging in the still air; a lone Buzzard calls ...
bright sunny days tease and tempt
birds all knowing sing
Early Sunday Morning
The sun streams through the bedroom window - slightly open, the red and white gingham curtains moving gently in the morning air - dust motes caught for a moment - faerie dust, shining like tiny golden stars; the incessant chatter of House Sparrow and the garbled chuckling, whistling and mimicry of Starling from the cottage eaves and chimney pots; Green Woodpecker laughing from the nearby Ash; And Cuckoo calling from the copse across the fields. Listen ...
distant church bells ring
across the dewy meadows
a lark ascending
The Water Meadow
golden sunbeams flash
in summer sunshine colours
the kingfisher splash
Lying lazy in a meadow by a stream home to sheep ‘n’ cows and wagtail yellow buttercups dance in the meadow grass so high above kestrel hover a flit of swallow; wild rainbow cast the summer breeze ‘cross grasses mix’d an artists palette red gold ‘n’ green finches twitter ‘n’ tweeze.
yellow flags waving
under a willow golden
ducks are dabbling
The smell of new-mown hay; the distant gentle clatter of a ‘Little Grey Fergie’ - daisy chains, dandelion clocks and buttercup chins - the chime of the Church clock on the quarter hour from ‘tother side of the village green; the gentle purr of turtle dove - the drowsy hum of summer
flowers in our hair
children laugh ‘n children sing
love me love me not
Along the hedge as summer leaves fall
into autumn, colours flying, a fiery flash
of flirtatious tail ‘n sweet ‘tweet-tut’ call
teasing us. A white-arse cuts a fine dash
dapper on the autumn sun warmed wall -
atop sprigs of gorse; all along the chase
the ‘tic tic’ of furze-chat watchin’ sentinel;
on a bare leafless branch of a dying ash
a flycatcher pied in black ‘n white apparel,
the hedge below all red with haw, awash
with chakking feldfare; summer leaves fall
now the cuckoo fly
on the wing to Africa
flown the scream’n swift
A Winter Morning
A fresh fall of snow overnight - green fields mantled white; the blackish branches of willow and ash, edged white, starkly outlined, against the morning light; mirrored in the dark brown-grey of the brook; the distant woods a purple haze against the blue-grey snow clouds above. A pair of Bullfinch light up a solitary Ash tree - soft glow light bulbs of carmine red and cinnamon pink. They call softly to each other. Their rumps as white as the snow.
the sound of silence
filling the white space around
a Wren sings loudly
Spring in Winter
At the edge of the wood early catkins - lambs tails - tremble and dance, sprinkling yellow gold-dust over the snowy branches. A small party of Long Tailed Tit tinkle through the delicate filigree of branches outlined against the winter sky; first three, then from nowhere - five, then seven, then twelve. It is mid-January - still Winter
a blush-pink morning
mirrored in their feathers
teasing thoughts of Spring
I have submitted the collection for publication in the Wales Haiku Journal. Keep your fingers crossed!
The Featured Image is of a coloured woodcut titled ‘Bullfinches on snow covered branch’ c1911 by Allen W Seaby. I thought it fitting as this piece is about the Japanese form of prose poem - the Haibun, to head it with another form of Japanese Art - the Colour Woodcut.
He was an outstanding watercolorist, woodcut artist, author, and illustrator. He mastered the techniques of the Japanese Color Woodcut and became one of its leading exponents. He won a gold medal for color woodcut in Milan in 1906 and was a founding member of the Engravers and Printers in Colour and the Colour Print Guild.
A short biography can be found here